Thursday, 17 December 2020

Interview with Krysten


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Krysten, an American transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com. Hello Krysten!
Krysten: Hello Monika! Thank you for asking to interview me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Krysten: Sure, I'm a trans woman located in the state of Pennsylvania. I am presently 38 years old, starting to socially and medically transition at 36. I was married for 6 years prior to deciding to transition. I also work as a licensed therapist, being certified in trauma therapy. I'm also a huge fangirl at heart.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Krysten: I started to share on Instagram back in February of 2019. The original intention was to get feedback anonymously so I could become comfortable prior to coming out to others. At first, it was to test makeup attempts and to get a true picture of how steep of a journey I had ahead. I'm happy that early criticism was kind.

2 years gone or a life gained.

I was also inspired by others that were sharing their own journeys, seeing changes in similar body types and facial features to where I was starting gave me hope. I kept it going as a blog and a way to connect with others, being the cracked egg needing help from others. Eventually, I started to see the benefits of others saying my journey being shared has helped them.
Monika: Do you get many questions from your social media readers? What do they ask for? 
Krysten: I occasionally get some. The questions have sometimes been about coming out and processing with partners. Unfortunately, I need to filter through a lot to get to questions from people that are actually looking for support.
Monika: What was the strangest question that you answered?
Krysten: Well I try to ignore the strange ones or block as necessary. I have had to tell someone I wouldn't marry him. Some ask me anything questions and just fun nonsense.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Krysten: As they say "Your results may vary." Personally, I am at least pleased with facial softening of features, skin softening, and reduction of muscle mass. I've also dropped in shoe size. I would have liked better breast growth and body fat redistribution of my torso. 
Monika: We are said to be prisoners of passing or non-passing syndrome. Although cosmetic surgeries help to overcome it, we will always be judged accordingly. How can we cope with this?
Krysten: Society needs to continue to evolve to see beauty in everything. We can do it in the art to an extent but we just haven't gotten there in mainstream thought regarding the human body. Trans individuals can be beautiful without passing. Everyone's journey is their own and some do not have binary goals in mind. To reach goals it takes work, as HRT (if part of the plan) can only go so far.

A cute shot.

Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Krysten: When finding the strength to come out there were tons. While younger than me two of the ones that influenced me then were Maya Henry and Megan Bound. There have been many others while in my first year that had started out as being role models that I thought I would never make the amount of progress they have. Many have grown to be friends, which I feel indebted to their support.
Current role models are friends and otherwise that have undergone GCS and are passing down their experience. I hope to see more sharing their experience of transitioning publicly in their 30s.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Krysten: Being from the United States, our existence has been politicized for the last 4 years. Bathroom bills, sports restrictions, service in the military, housing, etc. This year had the largest amount of violent deaths in US history against trans people. Though representation within the media has greatly increased. Despite all the opposition more are feeling safer coming out and that is encouraging. The world needs to have experience with us out of the shadows.
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Krysten: I've had two interviews for promotions since transitioning. I didn't get the positions; however, the increased responsibilities would likely have been more than I was ready to take on as I needed to focus on myself.
I will say I was more confident in my presentation, though that speaks more to my lack of confidence prior to transitioning.
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Krysten: I'd advise playing to your strengths. It takes strength to transition. Don't sell yourself short.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Krysten: Make-up yes, fashion to an extent. I'm addicted to getting new eyeshadow palettes to try out. I have a bunch from Colourpop and Urban Decay. I tend to wear black and have a darker aesthetic. Style when not at work is rocker/goth chic. I go for style, not a brand. Though I own a few things from Royal Bones.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Krysten: That's complicated. I'm all for trans modeling and beauty but competitions will only perpetuate societal standards of beauty.

Krysten in 2020.

Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Krysten: I do participate in local transgender support groups. I helped facilitate the groups when they were in person.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Krysten: Love is very important. It helps us stay connected and feel our deepest emotions. I'm incredibly thankful for my significant other, our child to come, found family and friends.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Krysten: I have not thought about that. Currently, my Instagram serves as a public journal, so it at least is there for reference if I'd ever consider doing so.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Krysten: I do hope to have gender confirmation surgery in the next year and be a mother. I try not to think ahead further than that.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Krysten: You don't know the changes and self-discovery you will encounter. It is not an all at once thing. There will be hard times, other times that are euphoric, and others that are lackluster. HRT may surprise you and makeup is learnable. Family and friends that don't support you are not the family and friends you want or need, despite the heartache that will cause.
Monika: My pen friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transsexuals and transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Krysten: I do agree. While surgery might be the end goal for some, it's a lifelong journey. Be visible, be an individual, be safe. Pass on your lessons to the next egg that is cracking. 
Monika: Krysten, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Krysten: Thank you as well. Your questions are very thought-provoking. I hope readers will ask them of themselves.

All the photos: courtesy of Krysten.
© 2020 - Monika Kowalska

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